High school romance

by Andrea Cooley

May 5, 2001

Adam and my first date was to my senior prom. But we weren’t really high school sweethearts. See, he was already graduated from high school (and not my high school) and I was desperate for a date to prom. Now I can laugh when I look back on the other boys (yes plural) who I asked to go with me and turned me down. But at the time, with only a few weeks to go before the big dance, I was kind of starting to panic. I already had my dress and had spent hours talking about the dance with my girlfriends (who all had dates). So I decided I’d ask Adam.

I met Adam earlier in the year through a good friend and he was a really nice guy (he’ll probably cringe when he reads that, no one wants to be the “nice” one, right?) We’d hung out in a group a lot, exchanged some e-mails and maybe a phone call or two, but I thought of him as a friend. And even though he was already graduated, I thought he’d be game to go to prom with me. So I called him, and asked him if he’d go to prom with me, making it clear that we’d go as “friends.” I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, and I was moving to Des Moines to go to Drake in the fall, so it wasn’t really worth starting something.

He said he’d go with me. I was thrilled to have a date, but told all my friends we were going as friends, nothing more. So the big day rolled around and Adam came to the door with a red rose. My mom says he gave a little gasp when I walked down the stairs. Maybe it was a sign that I was wearing white! We had a great time at the dance and by the end of the night, I wasn’t letting go of his hand. I remember some of my friends commenting on that, but I ignored them. I was just enjoying the night!

Over the next couple days, as Adam and I talked more and shared pictures from prom, I started reconsidering not having a boyfriend during the summer. We could have fun, nothing serious, and then part ways in August when it was time for me to go to school. Adam agreed and we started dating. I quickly found out that he was much more serious than I was. Granted he was a year and a half older, but I like to think I had a good head on my shoulders for an 18-year old. He would say things like “I could see us spending the rest of our lives together,” and I would laugh and change the subject. Remember, I had no long term plans for this relationship and thought I’d made that clear to him.

On a trip to Chicago with friends

Fast forward to the end of July and I broke up with Adam. He was devastated and I was confused. I broke up with him for a lot of reasons. I didn’t really know what I wanted in the relationship and ultimately I didn’t see us staying together when I moved to Des Moines. However, even though we were “broken up” we still talked every day and even hung out. Like it or not, I really liked this boy and he wasn’t ready to let me go. So we had the “define the relationship” talk and decided we’d try to make it work when I moved away.

Adam made frequent visits to Drake over the years

So off I went, armed with plenty of phone cards (he got me a cell phone for my birthday). Even though we were only two hours apart, I didn’t have a car and he had a full-time job and was taking classes. He came to visit every couple weeks and I always came home for holidays, but it was still a long distance relationship. I’ll admit, I was immature, especially at the beginning. Shortly after I started school, Adam came to visit and when he left he got me a bouquet of flowers and told me he loved me for the first time. I said “thank you.” I knew I didn’t want to say those three words before I was ready.

on a carriage ride in Philadelphia the weekend we got engaged

Eventually, I told him I loved him, and we kept making trips back and forth between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. After 3 years of dating, things were getting serious. We were talking about getting married and looked at rings. I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of college in Pennsylvania with an internship. Adam came to visit halfway through the summer and within 2 hours of me picking him up at the airport, he proposed. I was shocked and of course said yes! Although, I did ask him if he wanted to take the ring back and propose again when I was back in Iowa at the end of the summer. He didn’t like that. Note to self: Don’t tell the man who just asked you to marry him that you want to postpone the engagement. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be engaged, I just wanted to be able to share our excitement with our family and friends and it was hard to do that when I was 1,000 miles away.

At the end of the summer I headed back to Des Moines to finish school and plan a wedding (I have my mom to thank for most of the wedding details). Looking back, it was definitely a stressful year: finishing school that I loved, preparing to say good-bye to friends and being single (or at least unmarried), figuring out where Adam and I would live, getting jobs, but six years later, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Andrea Cooley

  1. What a persistent man you have! :) Love your story.

  2. What a sweet story! {Way to go hubby for being such a great pursuer!} You two are beautiful together. I popped over from The Remodeled Life! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

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